The North Royalton Boys Varsity Basketball team began the 2019-2020 season by putting up plenty of points on the scoreboard. The Bears scored 91 points in the season opener against North Olmstead and 78 against Cuyahoga Falls.
If you like long-range shooting, the Bears have that. In the first two games, Royalton has made 29 shots from behind the arc, including 18 against North Olmstead. Against Cuyahoga Falls, six different players sank a three-pointer for the Bears.
Bears head coach Nick Lapsevich says everyone of the five starters can shoot from beyond the arc. “We like to stretch the floor. Everyone on the team can shoot the three and that is really tough to guard. And I think we’re really balanced. In our first two games, we’ve had five players in double digits. But we have a lot to work on. We have to get better.”
Among the improvements the Bears need to work on is the defensive end. “We need to be more consistent on the defensive end with what we’re trying to do. We gave up more points than we wanted to against Cuyahoga Falls. (The Falls scored 28 of their 57 points in the third quarter). We’ve made a lot of adjustments in what we’re trying to do this season. Long-term, I think it will be a positive for us,” said Lapsevich. “You have to learn to be humble in this game.” There might be nights when we’re not shooting the ball well. It’s going to be up to our defense to win that game.
For the third consecutive season, Royalton is led on the floor by Junior Point Guard Omar Abuhamdeh, who seems even more comfortable being the catalyst for the offense. Lapsevich said, “Omar makes everything go for us. He can not only score the ball, but gets the other guys involved. We preach ball movement. When we’re playing, moving the basketball, that’s when we are at our best. We get a lot of open threes and high percentage lay-ups as well.”
When the Bears are moving the ball offensively, the points start to add up, in a hurry. “The more we can stretch the floor we force the defense to cover more ground. You kind of have to pick your poison. Do you want to protect the rim or give up threes? We will be defended differently on different nights. We have to find out what will be working for us each game,” said Coach Lapsevich.
This year’s Suburban League race appears to be wide open. “Anybody in our League can beat anybody else. There are no easy nights in this league. It’s really a challenge. But we’re looking forward to the challenge,” said Coach Lapsevich.
Sophomores: Justin Penkalski, Zaden Abuhamdeh, Mike Piazza
Juniors: Omar Abuhamdeh, Nate Sprecher, Killian O’Callahan, Ethan Toppin
Seniors: Kyle Evanko, Nick Evanko, Brody Shields, Jordan Garland, Daylin Riley
By Joe Jastrzemski, Contributing Writer for the Royalton Recorder
Posted on December 19th, 2019